Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has put on hold the Fee Fixation Regulation Committee (FFRC) order slashing the monthly fee of the Foundation World School, Mammath-Humhama by 50 per cent.
In an order passed through ‘virtual mode’ by Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul, the HC has directed the respondents to file response within six weeks.
“Until further orders of this Court, effect and operation of the impugned order dated 18.03.2021 passed by the Fee Fixation Regulation Committee shall remain in abeyance,” the court order issued on Friday said.
Acting on complaints from parents, the FFRC had in March ordered a 50 percent reduction in the monthly fee of two top private Valley-based schools – Foundation World School and Birla Open Minds International School, Pampore.
The FFRC in an order dated March 18, 2021 had fixed the monthly fee of the Foundation School between Rs. 2900 and 3200 from Nursery to Class VIII. The school was charging Rs.6360 as monthly tuition fee and had also filed a petition before the FFRC seeking permission to hike the fee to Rs. 7000.
Petitioners Foundation World School through senior advocate ZA Shah and advocate Syed Musaib pleaded that the FFRC had ordered 50 per cent fee reduction in an ‘arbitrary manner’.
“One of the submissions of Shri Z. A. Shah, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner is that the Government has constituted a Committee for Fixation and Regulation of fee of private schools, but it has failed to prescribe the powers and functions to the said Committee as contemplated in Section 20C(i) of the Act, and as such, the Committee acted without jurisdiction in the matter of fixation of the fee. Moreover, the Committee in an arbitrary manner slashed down the fee of the petitioner by illegally excluding the expenses towards the rent, publicity (branding expenses) and student expenses,” the HC order said.
The respondents of the case, which have been directed to file response within six week, are FFRC, Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), J&K Board of School Education through its Secretary (Member FFRC) and Aspire Education Services Pvt. Ltd. through its Managing Director.